Last week saw the baseball season come into full swing for greensborosports.com and with so many choices, we made sure to get at least 3 games in over the end- of -the -week- period, running Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. First Horizon Park played host to 2 of our 3 games and the third meeting took place over at Dudley High School.
The weather has been great and it makes you wonder if the Grasshoppers will use Mr. Eric Chilton and his weather studies again this season. Eric was very accurate with his Double Doppler last year and if Don Moore has his Foster’s Weather Balloon afloat for 2006 we should all be safe at the First Horizon.
The baseball was all right last week but I would not grade it much above a
B-plus. UNCG edged N.C. A&T 4-3 in a game that the Aggies had locked up until the late innings. According to stadium leader Tim Vangel, the Spartans own something like a 30-3 record over the Aggies in the all-time series. A&T can’t seem to catch a break as they were in charge early in the contest with a 3-1 advantage after 7 innings. I have enjoyed watching Charlie Gamble the Aggie’s third baseman but lately he hasn’t been doing too much to help the Aggie Pride. Gamble played high school ball for his dad at Southern Guilford and Charlie Gamble Sr. was a catcher at Southeast Guilford and later at the old Elon College. The coach’s favorite saying is,”No Gambling in the Dugout”.
The crowd was good for the Spartan/Aggie matchup but the crowd was even better the next night when Greensboro College and Brown University got together at First Horizon Park. Admission was charged for the Aggie/Spartan contest but for Pride/Bears game everyone got in for free. No charge and the Greensboro College students were rowdier than the the kids from the night before. Alcohol was on sale and the 21 and over students from GC were having a few of the Adult Beverages. Greensboro College scored 10 runs in the third inning to take an early 10-2 lead but Brown came roaring back to cut into the lead and made it 10-8 and then GC pushed across 2 insurance runs to help make the final 12-10. Brown was trying to grab their first win of the year and if not for that double-digit 3rd inning by GC, Brown would have left town with their first “W” of the season.
The way it was, Brown left Greensboro at 0-11 and GC improved to 20-6 and the GC Pride picked up a rare win against a Division I program. The Pride have looked solid in the two games that I have seen them play. I previously saw GC knock off Tufts on a Friday afternoon at War Memorial Stadium. The old WMS is not looking very spiffy these days but the GC Pride did show well in the win over Tufts. I also saw A&T pull one out in extra innings over Appalachian State at WMS back in early March.
The only local college team that I haven’t seen in action so far this season is the Guilford College Quakers. They split a doubleheader with Hampden- Sydney last weekend and the Quakers are in the thick of things in the ODAC standings.
High School baseball, I have witnessed an abundance of it this year. Every time I find a game it seems like Northeast Guilford is taking the field. I saw the Rams for the 4th time last Friday night and NEG started the year 0-5, but now they have improved to 5-6 overall after their 14-2 win over the Dudley Panthers.
Ian Phillips was strong on the mound for the Rams and at the plate NEG was busting loose as well. The Rams took an early 4-0 lead and never looked back as David Burgess connnected for a three-run HR and Jake Battles drove in two with a double as the Rams saw their lead climb to 10-0 by the fifth. Dudley was paced by shortstop James ‘Tre Perry and the “J” man laid down a nice bunt and he showed some speed on the bases.
Dudley was overmatched by NEG but the Panthers are doing all they can to improve on the baseball diamond. Dudley’s field was bumpy, rocky, and very dry because of the recent lack of rain. A couple of times during the game I thought we might have to run for cover when a severe dust storm tried to invade the ball field. NEG’s Nathan Cockman was injured when he was hit just above the elbow by a wild fastball but Cockman stayed in the game by moving over to play first base. By coming out from behind the plate and relinquishing his catching duties, Cockman almost seemed like a fish out of water but he didn’t hurt his team’s chances and he probably helped the cause by staying in the game and getting some extra at-bats.
NEG is making a charge in the Triad 3-A conference now that they have their stuff together and they might just challenge for a playoff spot. The shocker of the week in the high school baseball ranks was Randleman knocking off previously unbeaten Ragsdale. The Tigers upset the Tigers. Ragsdale was trying to run the table but they got swept under the carpet and now Randleman has everyone’s attention. Randleman and Asheboro are both making runs over in that 3-A conference. Neil Pritchard of the Asheboro Blue Comets has moved to 4-0 on the mound for the season. Grimsley and Page will be getting together soon in the Metro, and it ought to be a doozie. Nothing like a doozie on a warm spring afternoon.
There’s a lot of good baseball left to be played here locally on both the College and High School levels and don’t look now but here come the Greensboro Grasshoppers. The Hoppers begin their season at home in First Horizon Park on Thursday night with the Hagerstown Suns in the Gate City for a four-game stand.